Dear person who called my daughter spoiled,


I did not lose my mind in your face because I am (sometimes) a nice person.

And also because for you, I think, this was just a fleeting thought among many others.

And also because my daughter is not a victim and I am not a hero and when I go all mama-bear, the conversation usually starts heading in that direction.

But, the truth is, you do not know the half of it.

Can a person be spoiled if they spend the first years of their existence uncertain about everything?  I’m talking about an uncertainty that is powerful and terrifying and all-consuming.  I’ve never known this kind of uncertainty, and as an adult it strikes fear in my heart.  Try to imagine processing it as a little kid.

Can a person be spoiled if, as a preschooler, they can cook a full meal and take care of a handful of babies and toddlers and charm their way out of virtually any misdeed?  These are skills, you see.  Maladaptive skills, but skills that once seemed crucial for survival.

You have no idea.

You have no idea how hard we fight for trust.  For unlearning.  For healing.

You have no idea of the hard, hard emotional and psychological and spiritual work we have done.  The progress we have made (that, to the uninitiated, sometimes looks like un-progress—what parent wants to take an independent kid and make them dependent?)

In the same breath, you tell me that I am brave and strong, but these words ring hollow in my ears.  You cannot praise my character and denigrate my parenting.  They are both essential parts, undividable parts of who I am.

I hope you mean well.  I do.  But I dare you to go where I have gone.

I dare you to stare down the demons.  To tend the giant, gaping soul-wounds.  To spend very literal blood and sweat and tears in the fight for healing.  I dare you to do this.  And then we’ll talk.

I know I can be plenty judgmental myself.  I’m sorry.  Sorrier now than usual because I am reminded that I don’t know the whole story.

I believe that you are a good person.

Just, please, don’t go there with this crazy mama-bear again.

Ok?  Thanks.

9 thoughts on “Dear person who called my daughter spoiled,

  1. ruthie050573

    I love you and don’t even know you. Your heart. Your fight. I’m in tears. Keep up the good work fighting for that sweet one.

    • Shannon

      Oh friend, I feel like I “know” you… our stories have so many similarities. I so appreciate your kind words because I know that you are also fighting for healing. Carry on, warrior mama.

  2. psumama

    My 4yo daughter has a LOT of tough things going on right now – more diagnoses than I ever share with anyone. Two weeks ago we were about to go into a local amusement park and she started melting down. The security guard decided it would be helpful to say “If you are going to be a cry baby, you have to stay outside with us (the security guards).” So many reasons why this was not okay. So. Many.

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